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St. MATTHEW v. 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all,
neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne ; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool.
In my last lecture Iturned your thoughts, my friends and hearers, to a sin, which is very common amongst you, the sin of adultery, the sin of having more wives than one. I say it is common, but I hope it will not be so amongst you now, for the more you hear of religion, the more your minds areinstructed in whatour Saviour has taught us, the more clearly you will see the greatness of this sin, and the more you will pray to God, through Jesus Christ, to give you grace and strength to avoid it. Especially ye, who are now preparing to
be christened must give up this abominable practice: for, if ye continue in it, I can never christen you. And as I sup. pose, that all, who hear me, wish to be christened in time, and as all will be so, one after another, except through your own fault, I have given you warning, that you never shall be christened, unless you give up the practice of having more wives than one--a practice, which is more worthy of a heathen and a savage, than of a Chris tian slave. And I would advise you all to conquer that fickleness, so common to our depraved and sinful nature, which shews itself in getting tired of wives and hus. bands, whom you have had for some time, and in wishing to have others. Ye, who bave wives or husbands, should keep to them till death, unless they commit adultery against you, and so deserve, as our Saviour commands us, to be put away. But I must now have done with this subject, and go on with what our Saviour has taught us in his heavenly sermon.
Again, Ye have heard, says our Saviour, Jesus Christ, blessed for evermore, that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thy oaths. This was the command given to the world, before our Saviour came into it. It does not say, thou shalt not swear, but if thou swear, do not swear falsely. But Jesus Christ, who knew more than all who bad gone before him, being one with God, and himself God, says; But I say unto you, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thon swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. These were the oaths, which the people at that time were fond of using. They thought that by so speaking, they did not swear by God, forgetting that God had made all things, and that swearing by any thing, which he had made, was, in a manner, swearing by Him who made them,
No practice is more common amongst you than swearing. You learn it in your infancy, it grows up with you, and sticks fast to you, till you sink into the grave with that sin and your other sins on your heads. And yet where is the pleasure, or the use of swearing? What pleasure can it give you to call upon God's holy name, upon your Saviour's holy name for every trifle, and whenever you are angry with another? Does it satisfy any appetite, which nature has given you, if
you swear. Does it remove the pain of hunger, or the -feeling of thirst? Where is the passion that is gratified by it? Where, again, is the use of swearing. Does it make you better believed, when you declare a thing, or more trusted, when you promise any thing? Why then should you swear? Why should you disobey your Saviour, who commands you not to swear? It is only because you are accustomed to it: you have got a habit of it, and you cannot conquer a bad habit. Oh! say not so.
may be conquered, if you are in earnest, and if you pray to God for his Holy Spirit to enable
them. I can do all things, said a good man, St. Paul, through Christ that strengtheneth me: and you can do all good things, and keep from all bad ones, if you pray to Christ to strengthen you. Wby then will you sell your souls for nothing, and serve the devil for that which gives you neither pleasure nor profit? Remember too, that cursing is meant together with swearing, and it is dreadful to think, how often you will call down damnation on yourselves and on others, when you are angry, or when any of your other passions are roused. Let me beg you this night to give up these vile; these shameful practices, and to let your' words as well as your actions be guided by the commandments of your blessed Saviour. Let your communication, says he, be yea, yea, nay, nay; for what, soever is more than these cometh of evil. Keep yourselves to a bare saying, that